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Tabula Obscurum
Chapter II

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Jacob staggered down the street, hand raised to shield his still-adjusting eyes from the harsh reality of the sun. Wherever he was, it was both bright and warm. Hot, really. But also humid. Tennessee? He wasn't sure why that word jumped up at him. It didn't really mean much at the moment, then again nothing did right now.

Ten meters away, a woman who had been standing in a lawn mouth agape in confusion back peddled away from Jacob and scurried back inside. Twenty meters away, a man in a bathrobe shuffled up the street, mumbling some veiled profanities carried away by the wind as he drifted by. He didn't make eye contact; perhaps disbelief had overtaken him.

"Hello?" Jacob called out to him but if the old man heard him, he gave no sign. And so our young researcher carried on.

Down the street, a man in cargo shorts and a ratty forest green polo shirt was attempting to open the cars parked along the road one by one. As Jacob approached, steady and careful, this would-be-car-jacker looked up from plying his trade, tongue lolling as he jimmied the locks, and gave a courtesy nod. Jacob stopped, partially out of respectful distance partially to admire the man's work.

"What you got there, chief?" Jacob spoke clearly and slowly.

"One of these gotta be open." The man replied from the side of his mouth. The fruits of his labor unsuccessful, he moved on to the next car and one length closer to Jacob.

"What's your name?"

"I might ask you."

"I guess it's Jacob but I'm honestly not sure.

"Well Jake, I can appreciate that problem. I guess I'm Roy."

"You guess?"

"Yep." And apparently, that's all the more clarification Jacob was offered.

"What is it you're up to, Roy?"

"Figure I might do okay if I can get out of town and away from this big mess of confused folks. Folks is dangerous when they don't know what to do."

"Do you have a car? Are one of these yours?"

"Not sure. Hope I'm about to have a car." Roy stopped in his tracks and braced himself against the hot roof of the Honda Civic he was working on. "I'm not even sure why I think this will work. I…I don't remember anything. Anything."

"Me either. Just hoping for some answers, figured it might be worth our time to hunt for them together."

"So long as you agree my burdens are you burdens, I'll do the same."

Jacob nodded to the stranger, this Roy, and agreed likewise. "Shake on it?"

Roy laughed it off, as the absurdity of trusting a stranger when he couldn't even trust his own identity was not lost upon him. "Sure, Jake." An accord was made.

"Look, someone left a book and some file folders for me. I'm going to go back and grab them and then we'll get out of here. It's uhh, two buildings up, if you find a car. I'll just come right back out to the street and then we'll find a car." Jacob began to take off and Roy nodded in acknowledgment.

The sights whirled by as Jacob stormed up the stairs, opened the hallway door, entered the apartment through the wide open suite door. How did he get up here? How did he know where to go? Some part of him remembered something of this life. Something of this place. But what and how much?

Could he access it?

Did he have amnesia?

The folders. The journal. He gathered them both and bounded back down for the street. There, Roy waited in a black Rav 4 idling along the curb, a smile on his face half a mile wide.

"Found one!" He beamed as he saw Jacob, the windows rolled down and a smile on his face. "Let's make a break, Jake."

This Roy guy was alright.